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Farmers now required to protect waterways

Words: Laura Edgar
Farmers to take action to prevent water pollution / Shutterstock_1047284245

New rules have come into force making it mandatory for farmers in England to maintain good practice to protect water quality and prevent water pollution.

The government highlighted that farming-related pollution incidents harm wildlife in rivers and seas, damage the economy, resulting in higher bills from increased water treatment, and affect both tourism and the shellfish industry.

Many farmers have already taken steps to address pollution risks, but these new rules aim to ensure that all farmers take action.

The government said the rules would:

  • Promote good practice;
  • Encourage land managers to take reasonable precautions to prevent diffuse pollution from runoff or soil erosion; and
  • Require land managers to plan each application of manure or fertilisers, based on soil tests, to meet but not exceed crop and soil needs.

A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment sets out how the rules will require every farmer to identify and manage risks to water, as well as to start taking precautions to cut ammonia emissions, reducing pollution and soil erosion and improving resource efficiency.

Environment minister Thérèse Coffey said: “This is a really important opportunity for farmers to reduce pollution in watercourses. In following these rules, farmers will be able to help reduce pollution incidents, improve water quality and save money through more efficient use of resources.

“The new rules are an important part of our 25-year plan for the environment which will help us deliver our plans for a green Brexit and leave our environment in a better state than we inherited it.”

Read more:

News report: The government's environment plan: what you need to know

Government to strengthen environmental protections in the NPPF

A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment

Image credit | Shutterstock